Vertebral fractures

October 17, 2023 by naveenadmin0

Vertebrae are the bones in your spine that are fused by articulations. They not only protect your spinal cord but also facilitate axial loading and support the limbs. Vertebral fractures occur because of wrong axial loading and dislocations due to trauma, falls, bone diseases, infection, or metastasis.

Types of vertebral fractures

Compression vertebral fractures

It is very common in people with osteoporosis and bone cancer or those undergoing radiation treatment. As vertebrae are thin and brittle, any pressure causes the bone to fracture. One common example of vertebral compression fracture is a wedge in which the anterior part of your vertebrae collapses, forming a triangular shape.

Burst vertebral fracture

It occurs when the vertebrae are crushed because of the force or pressure of a car accident. It mainly happens in several places, making the bony pieces move into soft tissues. These are very hard to repair and result in damage.

Flexion distraction vertebral fractures.

This occurs when there is a sudden movement of your body in forward direction, such as suddenly stopping or a car crash. Based on the force intensity, the vertebra might break down in regions like the middle or posterior vertebrae.

Vertebral fracture symptoms

Vertebral fracture: symptoms mainly include pain, and sometimes, some neural deficits are seen, such as

  • Weakness
  • Tingling
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Spinal or neurogenic Shock

What causes vertebral fractures?

Vertebral fractures are serious injuries that occur due to high velocity impacts, such as:

  • Motor accident
  • Sports accident
  • Falling from height
  • Any violent act
  • Spinal tumors
  • Osteoporosis
  • Underlying medical conditions that cause vertebrae weakness

Diagnosis of vertebral fracture

An emergency medicine specialist needs to evaluate spinal fractures properly. Based on the injuries, your doctor might recommend several diagnostic tests, such as

  • X-rays for checking fractures or any abnormality in the spine
  • CT scan of the spine for viewing if there is any change in the structure of the bone
  • MRI scan for determining damages in soft tissues, ligaments, or discs and assessing spinal cord injury.

Treatment of vertebral fractures

Conventional treatment

Ample bedrest, hot and cold packs, and NSAIDs are the first treatment lines in the case of a stable fracture. Post-recovery exercising, losing weight, and physical therapies are required, too.


But when the vertebral fracture is severe and the spinal cord is damaged, you might require surgery. Some of the common types of surgery include:

  • Vertebroplasty: Here the surgeon will inject liquid cement into the vertebrae to strengthen it.
  • Kyphoplasty: It is the same as vertebroplasty, but a small baloon is inserted before the injection of liquid cement into the vertebrae. On inflating this balloon, it will push the bone back to its correct position and form a space that was there before the fracture.

Both of these processes are outpatient processes, and one can go home on the same day. The patient has to rest for about 24 hours before resuming daily activities. It is recommended to avoid heavy lifting or any kind of strenuous exercise till six weeks post surgery.

Effect of vertebral fracture on body

A vertebral fracture makes it painful and difficult for any movement. Normally, it is advised to wear a brace that helps hold the back properly so that the fracture heals. While wearing a brace, it might not be easy to move freely, but it’s vital to give time to the vertebrae to heal.

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Dr Naveen Tahasildar has been treating the whole spectrum of spinal disorders from cervical spine to sacrum by non-operative and operative means using cutting edge technology. These patients include national as well as international from all parts of the world.

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